Growing up in the shadows of Boston, it’s not surprising that writer Robert Sullivan, who has been published in TIME, Sports Illustrated, and LIFE, among others, became a Red Sox fan. His first exposure to its mystical aura came in 1960, when his father took him and his older brother to Fenway Park, with the main purpose of being able to see the legendary Ted Williams play in what would be his last season. Years later, he continues to align his loyalty towards the Boston nine but he must do so behind enemy lines, since he lives in Westchester County, New York, or, as the back cover of the book reads: “…in the backyard and too often in the shadow of the Yankees.”
Our Red Sox: A Story of Family, Friends, and Fenway obviously touches a lot on Boston’s successful 2004 campaign, but the main focus of the book is what it has meant to Sullivan, his family, and his friends to live through the agony and ecstacy of wearing that spoked “B” on your cap and rooting for a team that year after year had you wondering: What if…. Sullivan first tells of his father who, like many others, had often stated: “I hope that they win it in my lifetime.” (For “Artie” Sullivan, that would not happen, unfortunately, but he would take his intense loyalty to Ted Williams, “a class guy,” to the end.) He speaks to his membership with the Benevolent Loyal Order of Honorable and Ancient Red Sox Diehard Sufferers (BLOHARDS) of New York, founded years before Red Sox Nation came to fruition, as he quietly roots for his team from afar.
He also talks of doing everything that he can to pass on that love to his children, errant foul balls at a Lowell Spinners game, Lowell being the Single A affiliate of Boston, and the horrific sight of finding the unfamiliar sight of Yankee blue all around him in Westchester aside. Of course, the book would not be complete without speaking the suffering endured by Sox fans after witnessing the horrific end to the 2003 campaign at the hands of those very Yankees, setting up what would be a memorable 2004 season in which the collective weight of he and other Red Sox fans would be lifted.
In short, Sullivan’s book is a heart-warming tale that stretches across generations of star-crossed Red Sox fans, some who have waited exactly a lifetime to see Boston win that elusive championship; it’s a story that any baseball fan will enjoy, no matter whose cap you wear.